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Tribute in Cyprus to fallen comrades


Royal Irish soldiers at the memorial service in Cyprus

Royal Irish soldiers at the memorial service in Cyprus

Royal Irish soldiers at the memorial service in Cyprus

A special tribute has been paid to seven soldiers from Northern Ireland who died in a terrorist campaign nearly 60 years ago.

The seven were with the Royal Ulster Rifles serving in Cyprus during the EOKA campaign of the late 1950s to end the status of the island as a British Crown colony.

And a squad of soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment currently attached to 1 Scots on United Nations duties patrolling the buffer zone between the Turkish and Cypriot communities decided to hold a special memorial service for these men buried at the Wayne's Keep Military Cemetery in Nicosia.

Captain Richard Scott, who organised the service, said: "Their regiment was one of our antecedents and being here I thought it was appropriate to acknowledge the sacrifice they made.

"I think also that the present day young soldiers appreciated the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the history of the regiment and to feel part of it."

On a cold and windswept hillside far from the Cyprus which is known to holidaymakers, a visit was made to each grave and a wreath laid individually at each little marble headstone which had the details of each soldier engraved.

They were, with the dates of their deaths: Corporal Andrew Bryans, September 13, 1957, age 30; Rifleman Eric Gillett, November 2, 1957, aged 19; Rifleman Michael McDonnell, December 17, 1957, age 20; Rifleman Karl Atkinson, July 30, 1958, age 19; Rifleman Daniel Kinsella, September 2, 1958, aged 20; Staff Sergeant James Lane, October 3, 1958, age 23; and Rifleman John White, October 8, 1958, age 20.

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